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The finalization of the Adelaide River Off-Stream Water Storage (AROWS) detailed business case has marked a step towards securing a more sustainable and reliable water supply for Darwin.

The detailed business case investigated the two short-listed options identified in the preliminary assessment to meet the Darwin region’s future water supply requirements.

This included assessing market demand and infrastructure needs for the project to best support water security and economic development in the Darwin region.

After a comprehensive assessment, Manton Dam Return to Service (RTS) and AROWS were identified as the recommended infrastructure solutions, to be developed in two stages:

  • Stage 1: Manton Dam Return to Service – short-term water supply with a development timeframe of 3-4 years
  • Stage 2: AROWS – long-term water supply, with a development timeframe of 7-10 years

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the business case assessed a range of infrastructure solutions to deliver secure, reliable and cost-effective water supply to meet future water demands for the Darwin region.

“The business case has provided the detailed information needed to help make future water infrastructure investments in the region,” Mr Joyce said.

“Securing a safer, more reliable and more sustainable water supply for Darwin is essential for the region’s future growth and economic prosperity.

“These solutions will give locals and businesses confidence that they will have the water they need to live and grow into the future.”

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics and Minister for Water Security, Eva Lawler, said projects such as AROWS play an important role in ensuring water security for the Darwin region.

“The Northern Territory Government has accepted the findings of this report and will continue to work closely with the Australian Government and the Power and Water Corporation to realise the opportunities that additional water supply can deliver,” Ms Lawler said.

“Manton Dam RTS and AROWS are an economically viable solution to provide water security to the Darwin region for the next 50 years and beyond.

“Power and Water Corporation had identified AROWS as the preferred water source in its Darwin Region Water Supply Strategy and has already undertaken significant preliminary work to inform the design and delivery of the project.”

Senator for the Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, said the Federal Government’s investment in the detailed business case forms part of its nationwide commitment for water infrastructure projects.

“Projects such as AROWS will drive economic development in the NT and create new jobs in the Top End,” Ms McMahon said.

“These projects will boost water security in areas where extensive irrigated agriculture already exists, while also helping unlock new agricultural regions here in Australia’s North.

“This is an important project as it addresses the need for greater water infrastructure in the Territory and northern Australia in general.

“Water is a precious commodity in the Territory and the AROWS project will help countless producers and farmers.

“AROWS would help to drive the Australian Government’s aim to boost agriculture from its current $65 billion industry to $100 billion by 2030.”

The Northern Territory Government is working with Power and Water to progress project development for both projects.

For Manton Dam RTS, this includes detailed design of the infrastructure components, further stakeholder engagement and assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the project.

For AROWS, this includes commencement of a range of activities that will support development of the project. 

These include a water allocation plan for the Adelaide River catchment, an environment impact assessment, stakeholder engagement and community consultation, and concept design of the infrastructure components.

The Australian Government provided $2 million to fully fund the AROWS detailed business case under the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund, which is improving Australia’s water security while creating jobs and boosting economic activity.

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